|Developer(s)||Crows Crows Crows|
|Publisher(s)||Crows Crows Crows|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, OS X|
Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist (shortened to Dr. Langeskov) is an exploration video game and is the premier game developed by Crows Crows Crows, a studio created by William Pugh. The game was released for Microsoft Windows on December 4, 2015 as a free offering. In the game, the player, expecting to participate in a narrative-driven story about a heist, instead finds themselves helping out an unseen narrator before they can participate in the story.
Dr. Langeskov is an exploration game, played from the first-person perspective where the player has some limited interaction with the environment but otherwise no other major gameplay. The player can pick up some objects like pieces of paper that have narrative elements on it, or coins or cassette tapes to locate. Dr. Langeskov is roughly 20 minutes in length.
At the start of the game, the player is given the impression they are about to play a game about a heist taking place in a mansion involving an emerald and a tiger. However, the game appears to glitch out, and they find their player-character in the green room area of the game, fashioned as the backstage of a theater production. An unseen narrator (Simon Amstell) informs the player-character that another player is currently playing the game. As they cannot have two players in the game at the same time, the narrator suggests the player-character can help out behind the scenes, since most of the staff appears to be on strike, until the other player leaves, at which point the real player can play it for themselves. The narrator instructs the player-character to complete several small tasks that help to complete the experience for the current player in the game, such as manipulating an elevator when it is called for, or preparing the tiger's cage. The player-character can take some actions or inaction that will cause the narrator to react in different ways, such as by failing to pull a lever when requested causing the narrator to frantically beg for assistance; however, this does not change the overall narrative.
Despite a number of small mistakes and haphazards, the player-character is able to assure the current player completes the game. The narrator leads the player-character back to the start, and allows them to enter the game. However, while waiting in the dark for the game to start, the player-character overhears the narrator speaking to a new player, in the same situation that the player-character had been in previously. The narrator guides that new player to help the player-character, but in this case, the new player accidentally triggers the release of the tiger sooner than expected, and, unseen, the tiger attacks the player-character. The game abruptly cuts to the credits.
Dr. Langeskov is developed by Crows Crows Crows, an indie studio created by William Pugh who previously worked on The Stanley Parable; the studio also includes writer Jack De Quidt, art director Dominik Johann, programmers Sean O'Dowd and Andrew Roper, and composer Grant Kirkhope. The studio teased the release of Dr. Langeskov in October 2015, though at that time had not named the game.
Alec Meer of Rock, Paper, Shotgun wrote that the game was "charming, even infectious," and characterized the developer's previous games as known for their surprise and delight. He had high praise for Amstell's performance as narrator. Meer saw Dr. Langeskov as a shortened sequel to The Stanley Parable, though more "playful" than "self-analytical" and more of a response to the game's reception than to the game itself. In comparison to The Stanley Parable, the narrator is not omniscient but unsound and just as confused as the player, similar to Wheatley of Portal 2. Meer wrote that gatekeeping was a prominent theme of the work and that the developers would appear conceited to some players. The reviewer appreciated the questions Dr. Langeskov provoked about how the public thinks about the process of game design.
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Media related to Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald at Wikimedia Commons